Walter Clayton is running it back in Gainesville.

The Florida guard, who earned second-team All-SEC recognition for 2023-24, has reportedly withdrawn from the 2024 NBA Draft. When announcing his initial decision to test the NBA Draft waters, Clayton indicated that he would be returning to UF if he played college basketball in 2024-25. He transferred from Iona to Florida ahead of the 2023-24 season after being named the MAAC Player of the Year.

As a junior, Clayton was Florida’s top scorer this past season. He averaged 17.6 points per game, the best numbers since Anthony Roberson’s 17.9 ppg in 2003-04.

Clayton has the most 20-point games by a Gator in the 2000s with 15. He reached double figures in 32-of-36 contests. Clayton had a 4-game streak of 20 points or more during the season, putting him in the company of Colin Castleton, Tre Mann and Nick Calathes of streaks this century.

Clayton turned it up a notch in March. He made the All-SEC Tournament Team by averaging 18.5 points per game as he led the Gators to their first championship game appearance in 10 years.

Florida’s season ended with a heartbreaking loss in the NCAA Tournament to Colorado. In that game, Clayton became the second Gator ever to score 30 points in an NCAA Tournament game, recording 33 points.

More good news for Todd Golden’s Gators

Clayton’s reported decision follows a weekend announcement from Will Richard. The Belmont transfer is returning for another season with the Gators. A 36-game starter in 2023-24, Richard was a solid contributor from the guard spot, averaging 11.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game for the 2023-24 Gators.

Richard specializes in shooting the 3-ball. He had a career-high 70 triples this past season, shooting 34.5% from 3-point range.

Along with Richard and Clayton, the Gators also return Alex Condon and Thomas Haugh, regular contributors from a 24-win team. UF lost Tyrese Samuel (graduation) Zyon Pullin (graduation) Riley Kugel (transfer), but Golden showed his portal prowess, adding former FAU guard Alijah Martin, former Chattanooga forward Sam Alexis, and former Washington State center Rueben Chinyelu.

Alabama is expected to be the preseason SEC favorite, but Florida should be a top-25 team and conference contender entering the 2024-25 campaign.